"I still have faith. As a fan long isolated from our beloved Seahawks in a distant state, I have contacted the office to purchase my season tickets. Yes, I still believe enough to plunk down my money to get seats for next season."

Well, I have completed the initial stages of the most drastic life change I have made since 1970. In former columns, you might remember that I was living in Southern California. Because of some personal choices and some events beyond my control, I have been rooted there these past 34 years or so. No longer.

Some of you might have thought I got fired as a columnist, or perhaps had quit. Not true. For much of the 2004 season, I had my house listed for sale. It just happened that it sold in December, and at the end of the season, I found myself in the midst of a long-awaited but poorly-planned move. The upshot is that escrow closed right around New Year’s Day.

The good thing is that funding pushed into 2005 for tax purposes. The bad thing is that I missed the last two games of the year. Also, I found myself disconnecting my computer, and thus my communications to Seahawks world, and wandering in the wilderness for several weeks.

I had thought to move home with “only what I could load into my truck.” So much for poorly articulated plans. I actually broke that resolution last August, when I brought a load up to Washington and packed it into a storage place in Auburn.

Prior to this last trip, I was unable to unload as much of my stuff as I had hoped. In fact, we loaded my truck and my brother’s van until the wheels were rubbing the wheel wells, and still had stuff left behind. Silly me, I need to make another trip south this spring to bring up the rest. It does make a nice excuse to go back and see some friends down there.

Meanwhile, Southern California was being soaked with the worst rainy season it had seen in 5 or 10 years. With my brother’s van being a tad overloaded, and my truck not being in the best condition, we opted to go the long way, up US101. The pass north of LA on I-5 was closed due to snow the day we left anyway.

I got to listen to part of the playoff game on the radio as we made our way through the San Francisco bay area. I missed a key turnoff that would have taken us through Oakland, and we ended up in San Francisco, where my truck nearly overheated in traffic. We stopped for a bite at a Burger King, waiting for my truck to cool down and traffic to clear. Meanwhile, I found myself running out to my truck in a torrential downpour to listen to the end of the game on the radio. Funny how things work out, but after that disappointment, we had pretty smooth sailing the rest of the way, with very little weather to contend with.

It was a long trip, but we made it. I am again a Washingtonian. I have found an apartment in Kent, and have at long last replaced the wretched old computer I used to suffer using.

I’m settling in. I have my high speed internet access. I have my newspaper subscription. I have a nice view of Lake Meridian. I have my family in the area. I have found a local bar that serves cold Alaskan Amber and Mack & Jack draft. Life is pretty good.

You have to live in a hot climate for a few years to appreciate waking up and seeing frost on the ground. Perhaps I will learn to hate cold weather some day, but I love it now.

Meanwhile, our Seahawks are also in transition.

Like many others, I was elated when I heard that Bob Whitsett was finally gone. Why Paul Allen hired a basketball man (and not a very good one at that) to run his football operation is a question that bears answering. It should be a subject for the NFL Live “What was he thinking?” segment. He was probably thinking, “Sports is sports.” At least he came to his senses and fired Whitsett, although it was probably a good 3 or 4 years too late.

And while it seems a bad thing that we don’t have some key positions in the front office filled, there does appear to be some movement. Signing Walter Jones has to be considered one of the best off season accomplishments in years. We’d all like to hope that some more players will sign soon, but of course much energy will be directed to the scouting combine this week. Yes, they are stretched a bit thin right now.

Perhaps this offseason will illuminate just how much negative energy Bob Whitsett exerted in the Seahawks organization.

I still have faith. As a fan long isolated from our beloved Seahawks in a distant state, I have contacted the office to purchase my season tickets. Yes, I still believe enough to plunk down my money to get seats for next season.

I plan to be there. Do you?

Steve Utz writes a column for Seahawks.NET every Sunday. Send your feedback to Steve at sutz12@comcast.net.

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